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Top Ten Tuesday: Series I Want To Read/Continue 📚

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish which has since moved to another lovely blog called – That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week features a different prompt where you come up with a list of ten books or ideas. This week’s Top Ten is Books Series I’ve Given Up On/Don’t Plan to Finish. Because i’m pretty definite when I decide to not continue reading a book/series, I thought i’d change this weeks prompt into Series I Want To Read or Continue.


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1⋅ Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – I really enjoyed the first book, it was different than I imagined (because of the TV show) and I love Sherlock’s unique detective style. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series which i’ve already bought!

2⋅ Strike Series by Robert Galbraith – These are in my top 5 favourite series of all time already, I love the characters and that it’s set in London. Right now i’m just waiting (impatiently) for the 4th in the series ‘Lethal White’ to be released some time this year.

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3⋅ His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman – I know absolutely nothing about this series but my friend constantly recommends this book series to me. (Hi Michael if you’re reading this). We have similar reading tastes, so I’m hoping that I enjoy this series as much as he does and says I will.

4⋅ The Dark Tower series by Stephen King – I heard about this series during the release of its recent film adaptation which I enjoyed and have since, after reading about how unhappy fans were that they added a bunch of plot points from other books into the film, wanted to get a clearer picture of the story.

5⋅ The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – This was recommended to me because of how much I love Harry Potter – the main character is also a wizard. I’ve also read a couple of the books synopsis and it reminds me of a divisive Netflix movie called Bright – not the characters so much but the world-building, which i’m looking forward to reading about.

lord ofthe rings

6⋅ The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R Tolkien – I didn’t enjoy ‘The Hobbit‘ but I’m still fascinated enough to want to read the trilogy. The films are amazing, and i’ve always wanted to have a better understanding of their world and know more about the characters. I Hope I like Gandalf, because I didn’t in ‘The Hobbit’.

7⋅ The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis – I first read the ‘Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ a couple of years ago only to discover that it wasn’t the first in the series. Ever since then i’ve wanted to start over and continue the books in the right order.


 

Honourable mention: The Giver series by Lois Lowry – I was going to put this on my list but I remember myself being bored reading  (book1) it. The dystopian world was very interesting but the story just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to.

 

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Are any of these on your series that you want to read/continue? Let me know if you do or don’t enjoy them!

— Grace

 


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Book Reviews · books · Literature

The Book That I’ve Purposefully Neglected Since 2003 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Book Review (Reread)

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SPOILER-HEAVY

I was 10 years old when I saw this amazing Order of the Phoenix book display outside of WHSmiths. I’d been waiting for almost a year for it to be released and begged my Mum to get off the bus home so that she could buy it for me… and she did!

If you know me, then you know that I LOVE Harry Potter and have read the series many times. However, out of the seven books, i’ve always found Order of the Phoenix a challenge to get through – as a ten-year old, I wrote it off as being the least magical and it being too focused on themes that I was too young to understand or appreciate. i.e. grief, politics, discrimination, death etc. As a teenager, I continued to find Order of the Phoenix hard to enjoy and ended up either skim reading most of it or just not finishing it at all. *hides face* As an adult learning that other Potter fans considered this book their favourite surprised me and has for a while now, made me want to give this book another read.

This is going to be a slightly different review because it’s one of the rarest times, that i’ve reread a book. (The Harry Potter series is literally the only exception). So i’ve decided to split this review into things that stood out to me, things that i liked and things that I didn’t like.

So, what do I think of Order of the Phoenix exactly 15 years on the day of its release?

 

ORANGLE FLOWER

 

WHAT STOOD OUT TO ME

1. The introduction of so many new and familiar characters:
The, who knew she was a part of the wizarding world, Mrs Arabella Figg, Don’t call me Nymphadora Tonks, The real AlastorMad Eye’ Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Luna Lovegood, Kreacher, Mundungus Fletcher, Grawp, Professor what’s her face Umbridge, Bellatrix Lestrange and – i’m even going to include Ginny because her personality really shines in this book.

2. The ‘surreptitious’ and ‘indignant’ writing:
Reading this now I can see how the writing might have put me off, I couldn’t tell you what surreptitiously or indignantly meant during the ages I read and tried to read this book, thankfully due to modern technology, I now have Google at the tap of a button.

Honourable mentions: Hermione V Luna was interesting. Why wasn’t Dean Thomas made Gryffindor prefect instead? Harry and Ron don’t really care about school rules. I’ve gotten so used to Gary Oldman’s interpretation of Sirius that I forgot how young and impulsive he was.

 

WHAT I LIKED

1. The Politics:
This was such a jarring subject for me, especially because politics wasn’t a subject that I was fully aware of until I was much older. Reading about how the Ministry turns against Harry and Dumbledore, all the propaganda and censorship… Umbridge – was infuriating. It’s tough to read about, but also important. Hermione accurately deduces that ‘The ministry is interfering at Hogwarts’ – it really is an eye-opener to the different methods and tactics just one or two individuals can implement into a school to control and negatively influence others. Moreover, if the likes of someone as powerful as Dumbledore doesn’t have any say or control over it, then it really should have been something that I paid much more attention to.

2. Professor Minerva the MVP McGonagall!
Here are a few of many awesome moments from her:

‘Is it true that you shouted at Professor Umbridge?’
‘Yes,’ said Harry.
‘You called her a liar?’
‘Yes.’
‘You told her He Who Must Not Be Named is back?’
‘Yes.’
Professor McGonagall sat down behind her desk, frowning at Harry. Then she said, ‘Have a biscuit, Potter.’


‘How dare you!’ the figure shouted as she ran. ‘How dare you!…’
‘Leave him alone! Alone, I say!’ said Professor McGonagall’s voice through the darkness. ‘On what grounds are you attacking him? He has done nothing, nothing to warrant such –’ Hermione, Parvati and Lavender all screamed. The figures around the cabin had shot no fewer than four Stunners at Professor McGonagall.


…Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, ‘It unscrews the other way.’

She takes on Umbridge countless of times, is fiercely protective of her co-workers and students, she even takes on those wizards who are trying to attack Hagrid! Sometimes I wonder why she isn’t Headmistress of Hogwarts because she does a heck of a lot in this book.

3. The descriptive writing:
There are moments throughout where I think Rowling describes things beautifully. For me, some of her best writing is when she is describing the atmosphere and how the characters feel. For example, when Harry and Dudley are attacked by Dementors, i.e. showing instead of telling – you know there are Dementers around even before they appear. I also found the way she describes Harry going through the stages of grief incredibly genuine and so in-tune with the way Harry thinks and feels as a character.

Honourable mentions: Ginny Weasley, she’s one of my favourites in this book. Neville Longbottom, slowly but surely coming out of his shell.

 

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

1. Harry and that attitude:
Although he had no control over some of the things that happen to him, I didn’t enjoy reading about how he dealt with them. I’m still not a fan of ALL CAPS HARRY, the hole he kept digging himself into with Umbridge was so frustrating  and his reluctance to practice Occlumency even though literally everyone around him tells him to is infuriating. He should by now know the lengths Voldemort would go to, to get to him. Lastly, he’s also incredibly out of his depth during the Department of Mysteries chapters – how he thought he could rescue Sirius on his own is beyond me.

2. Sirius’ death:
Another reason why I neglected this book was Sirius’ death. Narratively it makes sense, but it’s such a gut-punch especially when you think about the fact he’s only been free (ish) for just under 3 years. A year of it is spent in a place that he hates and overall, he hasn’t had the chance or time to become a proper adult in the real world which I think is why he at times comes across as immature. In an earlier version of this book Rowling was going to kill off Arthur Weasley instead and I would have been just as heartbroken by that but for different reasons. Nonetheless, R.I.P Sirius.

3. Dumbledore’s path to being increasingly problematic!
*Sigh* I could write an entire essay about this man. Until this book I thought he was the be all, end all of noble characters but his behaviour towards Harry in this book is just baffling to me. He does explain why, but couldn’t he have just slipped a note under Harry’s dormitory door and explained why he was avoiding him? Harry is in on the Order of the Phoenix and knows that Snape is a part of it too etc. so surely one or two conversations with Harry about his plan couldn’t have hurt?

Honourable mentions: The Grawp storyline… meh. Young James Potter. The length of this book. The lack of Lupin.

ORANGLE FLOWER


FAVOURITE CHAPTER: CHRISTMAS ON THE CLOSED WARD’

So many things get set in motion during this chapter. For starters, Harry and everyone else around him finally begin to realise just how complex his connection to Voldemort is. Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship is the weirdest it’s ever been the entire series, why won’t he meet Harry’s eyes? I’m still completely perplexed by how Dumbledore treats Harry this entire book. Before we get to one of my favourite sections, there is a moment in this chapter that pretty much becomes (I think) the most significant contributing factor to what becomes the most cataclysmic rescue mission i.e. ‘we plan, we get there and literally all hell breaks loose…’ It’s literally the smallest line, and it’s when Sirius yells at Kreacher to “Get out!”, you barely notice it, which is why I  think  it hurts so much when you realise how consequential such simple words can be, especially when it’s the unknowing cause of Sirius’ demise.

One of my favourite moments from this chapter is when we get to meet Neville’s parents. Everything about this encounter is so heart-breaking and really reminds you of the connection that Harry and Neville have – he could have been ‘the chosen one’ and if he were, would it have been Harry’s parents sitting in St. Mungo’s instead? It’s also a good moment of foreshadowing, in the sense that both Harry and Neville will both be in possession of the prophecy later in the book – a prophecy which could have had Neville’s name on it. Meeting Neville’s parents is also a nice touch, because they were once members of the Order of the Phoenix too. This part also reminds me of how empathetic Harry is towards others, despite his rage, reclusive  and reckless behaviour, he understands people’s situations.

It was also (I don’t know if nice is the right word) but, interesting to see Lockhart again. As was, the first genuine connection Harry and Ginny have when she reminds him that she’s the only person he knows that’s also been possessed by Voldemort.

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ORANGLE FLOWEROVERALL

Despite my problems with some of the characters, I can’t deny the richness of Rowling’s writing, her storytelling has never been better and a few of my favourite quotes come from this book. When it comes to choosing which Harry Potter book I want to re-read, this book will still likely be at the bottom, but I can say that I have a new-found appreciation for this part of the series as it was and remains essential to the forwarding of Harry’s story and our understanding of flawed characters and them not being the black and white characters that we initially thought they were.


 

4.1/5glasses

 


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I DNF’d a.k.a Banished to my ‘Did Not Finish’ Pile!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish which has since moved to another wonderful blog – That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week features a different prompt where you come up with a list of ten books or ideas. This week’s Top Ten is Books I Decided to DNF (did not finish) too Quickly.


1. SENSE AND SENSIBILITY BY JANE AUSTEN
I bought this book with the hopes of it finally making me a definitive Jane Austen fan. When I started reading it, I quickly became both annoyed and bored of all the archetypes and the pompous characters that Austen loves to write about. It’s always the same, the end goal is always marriage.

2. THE MAZE RUNNER BY JAMES DASHNER
I started reading this after the first Maze Runner film came out back in 2014. I enjoyed the film so naturally I thought that i’d enjoy the book, too. Unfortunately I didn’t quite take to it – the writing style just wasn’t for me.

3. A STORM OF SWORDS BY GEORGE R.R. MARTIN
By the time I got around to buying this book, i’d already gotten quite far in the television show. I also didn’t feel like reading about some of the terrible things that I knew were going to happen. Plus in the books most of the characters are around 4 or 5 years younger than their TV counterparts which made the whole thing twice as messed up.

4. THE POWER BY NAOMI ALDERMAN
I bought this book because of all the hype surrounding it. It won the 2017 Bailey’s Woman’s Prize and it was displayed all over the bookshop I used to work at, so my expectations were rather high. Though I loved the premise, it felt like I was reading Fan Fiction. (is that a good or bad thing? – I don’t know). Because I wanted to see it through I decided to buy the audiobook which I hope to listen to some time soon.

5. ULYSSES BY JAMES JOYCE
One day… one day… maybe not, who knows?..

6. ANGELS AND DEMONS BY DAN BROWN
I’ve read a couple of Dan Brown books and liked them for the most part. I just didn’t find this one as interesting. They’re also pretty formulaic if you’re familiar with the Langdon series. I might just watch the film instead.

7. THE CASUAL VACANCY BY J.K. ROWLING
I’ve had this book on my shelf for almost 6 years and have not read more than a chapter. I don’t know why I haven’t continued reading it particularly because i’ve read and enjoyed her other non-Harry Potter books (Strike novels) but I think it had to do with how much I was looking forward to her writing something similar to Potter and it ending up being the complete opposite.

8. DRACULA BY BRAM STOKER
I got half way through until I one day put it down and just never picked it up again. I actually liked it a lot. I’ll get back to reading it again when I remember to.

9. A PAIR OF BLUE EYES BY THOMAS HARDY
I was supposed to read this for a seminar but ended up skipping it because I couldn’t be asked to finish it. I didn’t really find it interesting enough to continue reading.

10. WUTHERING HEIGHTS BY EMILY BRONTË

I’ve watched 3 different adaptations of this book, really liked them all and finally decided to buy and then start reading it. The book itself is actually a little dull and very melancholic. I didn’t dislike it but I feel like I need to be in a certain mood to read it.

DNF books


 

Well that’s it for this list! 🙂

– Have you read any of these books or cast them aside on to your Did Not Finish (DNF) pile?

 

 

 

Book Reviews · books · Literature

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla: Book Review

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I’m not the biggest reader of non-fiction. I take forever to get through them and it’s hard for me to find a particular topic or person that I genuinely find interesting – i’m more of an essay or article reader when it comes to that. But seeing as I made it a goal of mine this year to read more non-fiction, I thought The Good Immigrant (2016) – which is a collection of 21 essays by UK based BME writers, would be a good one to start with.

There are so many different stories, views, perspectives and experiences in this book, in relation to the word Immigrant – some that I related to, learned from, some that made me laugh, some sad and a few that really made me uncomfortable.

In an era where social media has made it so easy for everyone to share their stories and experiences (both good and bad) via posts and threads, there was something about reading these essays which made them so much more engaging – almost as if I was getting a glimpse into their personal diaries. They write about their mothers and fathers, siblings and experiences with those they meet and encounter in ways that made me think about my own experiences with the word immigrant and what it means to be a ‘good immigrant.’ – I could honestly write an entire essay myself on this topic… maybe one day..

❝Integrate well. Move upwards in society. Be praised – until people worry that you’re doing too well, and then they remember that you’re foreign.❞

A couple of standouts for me were:

Darren Chetty’s essay,
‘YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! STORIES HAVE TO BE ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE’
– which is about representation in children’s literature.

Sarah Sahim’s essay, ‘PERPETUATING CASTEISM’
– which is about the ‘Caste System’ in India, and a form of discrimination i’d never heard about until reading this essay.

Musa Okwonga’s essay, ‘THE UNGRATEFUL COUNTRY’
– which is about his experiences trying to be a ‘good immigrant’ both during and after his time at a private boarding school.

The only negatives I have about this book is that there are some essays that are both written and expressed better than others. Some essays ended far too soon and others felt either too long or repetitive. One thing that I noticed but don’t think is a negative per-say, is that I found myself not relating to as many essays on a more personal level as I thought I would which I think is a testament to how unique and specific every story is …And now that I think about it, the only people who would be able to entirely relate to my experience, are my siblings.

 

Overall, I think this was an interesting and informative collection of essays.

And if you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you give The Good Immigrant a read!!

4/5

 

 


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The 20 Questions Book Tag 📚

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I was in the writing mood and as I haven’t finished any of the books that i’m currently reading, I thought i’d do a tag. I really liked this one because it’s long (grab yourself a cup of tea) and there were questions that I hadn’t answered before.

Let’s do this! 😀


1. How many books is too many books in a series?

I personally think that trilogies are the perfect number in a series. If they’re longer, I either end up not finishing them – à la A Song of Ice and Fire or I just (even though i’ve bought the book) can’t bring myself to read on when an author decides to publish another book in the series several years later after saying that the third would be the last. e.g. The Shiver series by Maggie Steifvater, which I really enjoyed as a trilogy.

2. How do you feel about cliff-hangers?

I don’t mind them but I prefer when a story ends with closure.

3. Hardcopy or paperback?

Hmm, I usually buy paperbacks because their cheaper but when I do really like the look of a  hardback cover, i’ll buy them, but prettiness aside, they are very impractical, so paperback it is!

4. Favourite Book?

I don’t think I can pick just one, so i’m going to pick an old and a new favourite. Old: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, it was the first classic I genuinely enjoyed and sparked my interest in gothic literature. New: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I just loved how much I was able to connect to the main character, who is literally the opposite of who I am as a person.

5. Least Favourite Book?

I don’t really have any least favourite books, there are a few that I did not finish  because I didn’t like or connect with them but as of recent, i’d have to say The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I had high expectations but I found most of it to be boring, tedious and the opposite of what I thought this adventure was going to be like… don’t even get me started on all the songs -_-

6. Love triangles, yes or no?

For the most part yes (shock? horror?) The ones that I have read were engaging enough for me to understand why they were introduced and why they were necessary (ish) to the plot. I also, in the same way you anticipate a mystery, like to wonder about which person will be chosen – it’s all in good fun.  I instead, hate watching them play out in films or TV shows because they always write the most generic and uninteresting love triangle story arcs.

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

8. A book you’re currently reading?

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla

9. Last book you recommended to someone?

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

10. Oldest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, published in 1688.

11. Newest book you’ve read? (Publication date)

Quiet Power: Growing Up as an Introvert in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, published in 2016.

12. Favourite author?

Probably J.K. Rowling / Robert Galbraith, because i’ve read and really enjoyed a lot of her work – It does help that she likes to write series of books.

13. Buying books or borrowing books?

I used to borrow books from the library a lot when I was younger but now definitely buying.

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

Anything Jane Austen (except Northanger Abbey), i’m just not a fan of her writing style and her books are repetitive i.e. the goal is always marriage.

15. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Bookmarks! Dog-ears are a no-no for me.

16. A book you can always re-read?

The Harry Potter series, other than that, i’m not really a big re-reader.

17. Can you read while hearing music?

I prefer silence but I listen to music when i’m on public transport or in a room where there are other distractions.

18. One POV or multiple POV’s?

It depends on the book. There are some stories where another POV really helps my understanding of the story and then there are other books where there are POVs of characters that I just don’t really care about and feel like they detract from the main characters arc.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

Over multiple days, I don’t like to rush through books, unless it’s really, really good.

20. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

I definitely used to when I was younger but recently, I can’t think of a book that i’ve read just because of the cover – for me the blurb is the most important thing.

poink and blue flowers

Well that’s it for now, I really enjoyed answering these questions!
Would you have similar or completely different answers to mine? Let me know!

I tag any of you reading this who wants to give it a go, I highly recommend it!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Book Reviews · books · Literature

Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood: Book Review

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Oryx & Crake is simultaneously one of the most imaginative and intriguing books that i’ve read, however, despite this… I ended up not enjoying this book – and honestly I don’t think you’re supposed to.

The only thing I knew about this book was that it was written by the same author who’d written The Handmaiden’s Tale – and though I haven’t read the book, I became familiar with it because of how well its television adaptation was being received critically, I personally chose not to watch it because of how miserable it sounded, and to be honest i’m tired of consuming content containing unequivocal amounts of misogyny. 

Before I get into my review (Spoiler-free), here’s a brief synopsis:

SYNOPSIS: Published in 2003, Oryx & Crake is a post-apocalyptic work of speculative fiction about a man, once called Jimmy who now calls himself Snowman. He is presumably the last living human on earth and has been left in charge of a group of primitive human-like creatures called Crakers.

REVIEW: This story is essentially a cautionary tale about mans involvement and manipulation of nature. It explores some very dark and disturbing truths about people, systems and technology – some of which was rather uncomfortable to read about. The book starts of pretty slowly and during the first couple of chapters I began to question how reliable Snowman was as a narrator, the more i read the more I began to think about how much this book would have benefited from having multiple points of views, especially considering how detailed this story is.

“All it takes,” said Crake, “is the elimination of one generation. One generation of anything. Beetles, trees, microbes, scientists, speakers of French, whatever. Break the link in time between one generation and the next, and it’s game over forever.”

What I did like about this book was its originality and creativity – it’s thought-provoking, engaging and is very blunt about who these characters are as people. I would love to take a sneak-peek of Atwood’s notes on how she came up with some of the ideas for this story because it’s truly impressive. One thing that I really appreciated was how Atwood was able to name or briefly describe a scientific or abstract subject without making you feel as though you need to do further research on it – the context of the story is thankfully enough.

The romance aspect of the novel is both complex and controversial, I personally wouldn’t call it a romance, it read more as an obsessive, manipulative, ill-defined, but passionate relationship of sorts, that I still, as i’m typing this, can’t get my head around, which is why I again feel like this story needed multiple perspectives. Moreover, despite the exposition we get about why the world is the way it is when we meet Snowman, I found it difficult to understand the motivations of certain characters.

Overall, I enjoyed reading about this world – it’s imaginative but also realistic in the brutalist of ways that make you think about the many ‘what if’s’ about our own world which is what I enjoy most about the dystopian genre. If you’re like me and not a frequent reader of dystopian novels but want to read something different, i’d recommend giving Oryx and Crake a read. But know this, if you’re not familiar with Margaret Atwood’s work, know that this is not a story with a (generically) happy or hopeful ending.

3.9 / 5

P.S. I wouldn’t recommend this book for young readers.

health · Life · Lifestyle

We Need To Talk About Pre-Workout… N.O XPLODE – My crazy experience! 🏋🏾‍♀️

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‘BSN N.O. – XPLODE’ Review

I feel like it’s my duty to give you guys an in-depth review of this product because I wish someone out there had put this information out there for anyone who was thinking about trying this pre-workout. I’ve searched around the internet for anyone who may have had a similar experience to mine or had any feedback or comments on how their experience with this specific product was for them but for some reason the only reviews I was able to find about N.O Xplode, mostly talk about its ingredients and whether or not it gave them a good pump. Moreover, the majority of reviewers were men – which I think this product was primarily designed for.

Before I tried the product:

Figuring out what foods and/or drinks to take before a workout has since I began attending the gym a few years ago, been a struggle. For whatever reason, around half way into my workout I start to feel dizzy or close to being too tired to continue. As a result, i’ve tried a bunch of different things from fruit, ‘healthy’ snack bars, energy drinks, coffee, porridge and more until I eventually found that a bit of dark chocolate or granola with almond milk before working out gave me enough energy to complete my workout.

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In relation to my physique which I think is a contributing factor to how this product effected me, I weigh around (and this is a measurement taken from sometime toward the end of last year) – 66kg / 147lbs and i’m 5″7. My body type is slim/athletic with some extra body fat. Pretty much all the reviews I watched featured men and a few women who were at least twice my size (muscle-wise) and who were already super-fit, so off the bat I knew that this product would affect me more than it did them. There is no possible way that I can write this out in a way that I can fully or coherently explain the crap that my body went through from the moment that liquid touched my lips… but i’m going to try. My body literally exploded (pun untended)…

My Experience:

I’m going to list the effects this had on me over a period of around 2 hours.

  1. Shortly after drinking the pre-workout my lips began to tingle
  2. They began to tingle like crazy
  3. Then my face began to tingle
  4. And then the palms of my hands began to vigorously tingle – it felt more like itchy than tingly at this point.
  5. Instead of taking the bus to the gym which I sometimes do, I decided to walk because by this point I was physically incapable of remaining still.
  6. Once I arrived at the gym and the warm air hit me — MY ENTIRE BODY BEGAN TO TINGLE — I felt like my face had come down with a rash but after rushing into the changing room and checking my face – there was thankfully no rash!
  7. I then began to scramble out of my jacket and by now literally every single part of my body was uncomfortably tingling  and I mean EVERY single part!
  8. I had to take a moment on my own in a bathroom cubicle because I started to get nervous that I might have taken the product incorrectly my heart was beating very quickly and I hadn’t even began to workout. After telling my self to suck it up because it was my decision to put that sachet into my system without doing much research – I left the cubicle and went to begin my workout… and appear as normal as I could.
  9. All I had to do was wait until the pre-workout had run its course and i’d be fine.
  10. I’m around 15 minutes into my treadmill session and I realise that anytime I slow down the intense tingling comes back and so I continue my session, running longer and at a speed that I don’t usually run on – not because I feel more energised but because I want the tingling to stop.
  11. Overall, I was in the gym for almost 2 hours.
Does it do what it says on the packet?

Energy – Was at a 10, despite my mini panic attack, I didn’t have that tired feeling I usually get half way into my workout which was good- I think the caffeine concentration had a lot to do with this.

Performance – Was very good, (8.5) I ran a lot longer and I did both longer reps and more sets. However, I definitely over-exerted my body and my muscles felt the workout for days.

Focus When I wasn’t focusing on what was happening to my body i’d say it was pretty good – a solid 8.

Taste Wasn’t great but bearable, leaves an after-taste.

Side-effects – The one thing that I found incredibly strange was the lack of sweat; I barely used my sweat towel – which I regularly use especially after I’ve been on the treadmill. The tingly/itchy sensation was insanely uncomfortable, almost unbearable. When I remained stationary, the tingle went up to a 12, when moving/working out, it dipped to around a 7. The tingling only began to decrease around 2 hours after I first began to feel it, and it completely went away I guess after I fell asleep (I prefer to workout in the evening). Lastly, my increased heart rate lasted just over an hour after I drank the pre-workout.

The Next Day – I felt mildly hungover. I ate a good breakfast after I woke up and I was pretty much back to normal.

Would I recommend this product?

If you’re a beginner, absolutely not. I think this is for near-seasoned gym junkies and athletes and as an intermediate gym-goer, I personally, wouldn’t use this product again. Despite the results, I definitely over-exerted my body and that insane tingly/itchy sensation I had throughout just (for me) isn’t worth the bother of using this as a pre-workout.

I hope this review of BSN N.O. Xplode helps someone out there who is thinking of trying out this particular pre-workout substance or that it reaches someone as naïve as I was who didn’t do enough research before buying this product. 

Overall: ★ ★

stay healthy

— Grace